Ask Kat: How Do I Create A Storm Closures Cancellations Section?

By Kat (SoCast) Jul 21, 2021 | 4:47 PM


In this blog, we’re going to take a look at SoCast’s Local Listings tool, and how to use it to create school and business closures. 

Local listings are really great for generating local traffic and community engagement for your website, and our Local Listings tool can be used to communicate school and business closures during extreme weather events like snow storms. This excellent yet underutilized add-on will give your listeners the ability to check your listings every morning before going to school or work and make informed decisions. 

First we recommend upgrading to our Local Listings tool. Our Local Listings tool can be used in a variety of ways, including Buy & Sell Listings, Real Estate Listings, Auto Listings, Community News, Announcements, Business Directory, Storm Closures etc.

If you currently do not have Local Listings, please reach out to your SoCast Account Manager.

Before you get started, you’ll need to make sure that ‘Membership’ is enabled, if you wish listeners to have the ability to submit closures.

Once Local Listings is enabled, you’ll want to follow the below steps:

Step #1: Create Listing Locations

See Knowledge Base link HERE

Closure listings are organized by locations, such as city or neighborhood names, to make it easier for your listeners to browse and find closures. For example if your station was located in New York City, you might create the following listing locations: Manhattan, Harlem, Greenwich Village, Chelsea etc.

If this is specifically for school and bus cancellations then you may want to add school districts, bus routes etc.

Step #2: Create Listing Categories

See Knowledge Base link HERE

Listing categories are used to help organize your content. They make it easier for you to monitor listings per category. They work similar to blog categories and are an important tool, especially as your station continues to grow. You could create 1 category for School Closures, or if you want it to be more defined, you could create separate categories for Daycares, Public School, High School etc. Think about how your listeners would want to access this information, and organize from there. 

Step #3: Create Custom Listing Fields

See Knowledge Base link HERE

This step is important because it allows you to customize the information for a listing category. As you’re creating your custom fields, make sure to assign them to the listing category you want them to display for. Some ideas for custom listing fields for school cancellations might be:

  1. Name of organization
  2. Type of organization (e.g. daycare, public school,)
  3. School Status (e.g. open, closed, delayed)
  4. Bus Status (e.g running, delayed, cancelled)
  5. Additional Notes (e.g school is open, but will close early)

Each custom listing field can include various options in order to create a drop-down. These go in the ‘choices’ box.  For example, for School Status you can add open, closed, or delayed options and then the listener/submitter can choose which status is appropriate when submitting the listing.

Step #4: Local Listing Settings

See Knowledge Base link HERE

The Local Listings Settings allow you to customize your listener’s experience by setting restrictions, display options, etc. You can also determine when and how you’ll get notified of submissions. All of the settings under this step will be set and filled in with default settings, with the exception of the ‘Email’ tab. You do not need to change any of these settings for the Local Listings system to work, however you can edit these if you like to customize the experience.

Step #5: Creating A Categories Listings Page

See Knowledge Base article HERE

Similar to how you would create a page for Local News, and then add the Blog List Widget to display the blog categories, the same happens here.

We do offer some default Local Listings page templates, however I like to just create my own.

So you’ll need to go to website > pages > create page > label it (e.g School Closures) and then add the ‘Listings By Category’ widget, and fill in the widget details, like selecting which listing categories you want to display on the page.

Step #6: Creating & Moderating Listings

See Knowledge Base article HERE

There are 2 options for creating and moderating listings. Some of our clients currently have schools email them information, and then create and update the listings for them in the system.

Others allow schools, businesses etc to create their own listings through the membership tool available on the front-end of the website. If you choose this option, users could submit a listing (e.g a school, daycare etc) fill in the listing information and custom fields, at which point station staff will receive an email that a new listing has been created and/or it will go to the classifieds listing page in the SoCast Admin Panel

From there, station staff can click on each “Pending Review” listing and either “Publish” to approve or “Move to Trash” to reject.

We’ve created an article HERE on the member experience and how to create and edit a listing that you may share with your listeners. 

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to the Client Success team via our live chat feature or the support desk: support@socastdigital.com


Kat & The SoCast Team